# How to do \mathbf in handwriting?

I have a bunch of vectors and matrices that are written using \mathbf, eg $\mathbf{w}$ and $\mathbf{W}$. What are standard ways of writing these in hand-writing?

I know this is not exactly a maths question, but I'm not sure where else to ask it really?

• My advice would be, unless you're an accomplished calligrapher or want to switch between pens or pencils a lot, avoid even trying to simulate bf. You can write perfectly acceptable mathematics with the one font your handwriting provides. – Rick Decker Nov 13 '12 at 15:52
• Traditionally, vectors are just indicated using the little arrow on top. It's quite difficult to accurately convey bold font using handwriting. – EuYu Nov 13 '12 at 15:53
• I'd say the best way not to mess up is to use different sets of letters for vectors, points and reals. I don't know about international conventions, but in France, when vectors are taught, a rightarrow is written on top of the letter. For matrices, capital letters are used. – Vincent Nivoliers Nov 13 '12 at 15:54
• @Rick, using different pens/pencils is an interesting idea that hadn't occurred to me. – Hugh Perkins Nov 13 '12 at 18:06
• Looks like there is tex.stackexchange.com now. Should this be moved to there? – Hugh Perkins Aug 20 '17 at 11:42

## 2 Answers

Since it is hopeless to write bold-face characters by hand, people introduced symbols like $$\vec{w}, \quad \underline{w},$$ for vectors. Matrices are usually written in roman characters, but with upper case: $A$, $B$, $W$, etc.

Mathematicians do not like strange symbols for vectors, and they tend to write simply $v$, $w$ as if they were writing scalar quantities. The context makes the difference. Physicists and engineers prefer arrows, as far as I know.

Why not use a tilde & a harpoon over the letter to distinguish between a matrix & a vector respectively? In control systems, capital letters are used to denote the Laplace Transform of a time-domain variable & since multivariable systems are not uncommon this could distinguish that.

• I see that a tilde under an upper-case Roman letter is also used for matrices; with a straight line or underscore under a lower case Roman letter for a vector. I can't figure out how to produce these symbols in MathJax. – Antoni Parellada Jul 19 '15 at 21:00